JACKSON, Miss. -- A researcher at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and future Army doctor, Joel Fahling took the oath of office and swore in as a second lieutenant during a Feb. 5 commissioning ceremony.

Fahling, 25, begins medical school this fall on the Army Health Professions Scholarship Program. The four-year scholarship pays full tuition, books and fees as well as a monthly stipend. Fahling will attend military training during his summer breaks. When he graduates medical school, Fahling will be promoted to the rank of captain.

"I've always had a nudge to do it. I like the discipline of the military. I like the structure of it," Fahling said of his future career. "Since I want to practice medicine, this seems like the best road -- to serve the people who serve our country."

Fahling is the son of Brian and Suzie Fahling of Kirkland, Wash. He graduated from Tupelo High School in 2006 and went on to complete both his bachelors and masters degree at Mississippi College in Clinton. He was accepted to The University of Mississippi School of Medicine, and is still waiting to hear from other medical schools before he makes his final decision. The Army program pays for the student's school of choice. When he completes medical school, Fahling said he would like to specialize in orthopedic surgery.

"It's always great to see someone this motivated and passionate about medicine join our ranks," said Army Recruiter Staff Sgt. Matthew Bittenbender of the Army's Jackson Medical Recruiting Station. "Our Soldiers deserve the best possible healthcare and Joel Fahling is committed to providing that care."

Along with the medical school program, the F. Edward Herbert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program is available to help students finance their graduate dental, veterinary and clinical psychology degrees, as well as select nursing and specialty degrees. About 500 scholarships are awarded each year.